Helsingborgs will prove a tough test for Celtic warns Mikael Lustig
CELTIC’S Swedish defender Mikael Lustig has warned his team-mates that they face a much tougher test against Helsingborgs in his homeland in the Champions League play-off first leg tomorrow than they did in the previous round when they beat HJK Helsinki home and away.
Lustig, speaking before the Parkhead travelling party fly out to Sweden this morning for the crucial tie, said: “Helsingborgs are pretty strong. They are on a really good run just now and have a lot of confidence. I don’t think they expect to win, but I’ve heard they are really pleased to get Celtic. We are a big club and Helsingborgs didn’t want to travel somewhere like Croatia and Romania. They are quite pleased but they believe it will be a tough game as well.”
Despite Lustig’s extensive knowledge of Celtic’s Champions League opponents, he revealed his manager Neil Lennon has not yet sought any insight from him. But he said: “He’s not asked me yet but maybe he will, although we also have [assistant manager] Johan Mjallby here. I know a lot of their players, so if he wants to speak to me about it, then of course I will tell him what I know. It’s maybe dangerous to think we can go to Helsingborgs and win by four or five goals. I don’t think we will. Against Helsinki we won 2-1 and 2-0 – it was by small margins.
“Helsingborgs are a better team than Helsinki.”
Celtic were relieved to escape with a 1-1 draw from their lunchtime match with Ross County on Saturday, a stoppage time goal by Kris Commons salvaging a point for them in Dingwall. However, Helsingborgs’ preparations went even worse – losing 2-1 to league leaders Elfsborg, and picking up a few injuries too.
Age Hareide’s side have huge problems before they welcome Celtic to the Olympia Stadium for a match which will not only be shown by STV, but shown throughout the UK by ITV. Goalkeeper, captain and Swedish international Per Hansson has tonsilitis and is a major doubt. Mattias Lindstrom and Erlend Hanstveit are definitely out and Erik Edman, Loret Sadiku and Erik Wahlstedt are also unlikely to play. Helsingborgs physio Martin Berg said: “Per is on antibiotics and it depends how he responds to treatment that will decide whether he will play. We’ll take one day at a time and see how it unfolds.”
Meanwhile, former Hibs goalkeeper Daniel Andersson – who could now play against Celtic – blasted his team-mates after the loss in Elfsborg. He said: “We cannot complain about the result because we were well beaten. There was a loss of concentration and we were all over the place in the game.”
But former Rangers player Alejandro Bedoya at least received a confidence boost when he netted on his debut. The midfielder scored with an overhead kick.
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